The Monday Hot Blast: Your guide to politics and punditry: Bike City Edition
by Anniston Star Editorial Board
Feb 18, 2013 | 6388 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association met last week at The Anniston Star. (Katy Cairo/Special to The Star)
Members of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association met last week at The Anniston Star. (Katy Cairo/Special to The Star)
February has been a big month for the region, for cyclists and for eco-tourism, the premise that avid bicyclists will bring their hobby and their disposable income to town. An article last week by The Star's Paige Rentz delivered the big news:

Mayor Vaughn Stewart wants Anniston to be able to call itself “Bike City, Alabama.” A Tuesday vote by the City Council is putting the Model City closer to that goal. Council members voted unanimously to fund $450,000 worth of work to extend the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail system into Anniston and connect to a new trailhead and future park on Monsanto Road. “In a lot of ways, that’s the future of downtown, central Anniston,” Stewart said.

Later in the week, we learned that a brew pub would opening in downtown Anniston.

A local group announced plans Friday to open a downtown restaurant that will brew its own beer, and perhaps pour new life into a historic corner of the city.

Cheaha Brewing Company, as the brewpub will be called, will open in a century-old rail depot at 12th Street and Walnut Avenue, according to Rodney Snider, the group’s chief executive.

The restaurant will open in mid-March, serving breakfast and coffee, according to the announcement. Evening hours — and the beer — will come “later this spring” once a bar is built and the brewing equipment is installed and operating.

What's more:

The rail line the depot served is long abandoned, the same route followed farther north by the Chief Ladiga Trail. City leaders hope to expand that trail south into downtown. Snider and chief operating officer Karl Walser, giving a tour of the building on Friday, said they hope the trail’s cyclists will help the brewpub succeed. Coldwater Mountain, which is home to a growing network of mountain biking trails, is visible from the building’s back porch.

“The bicycling community has demonstrated here and in many other states … that they are passionate about craft beer,” Snider said.

Weaver is getting into the act, promoting its part of the Ladiga Trail:

It’s not an official entrance to the city, but Weaver’s mayor believes the park adjacent to City Hall could be its most inviting gateway for visitors.

Despite rain pouring down Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Wayne Willis had no problem pointing out the trees, brush and fence he hopes to knock back next week for the first phase of his project to give the park a face-lift. Willis plans to make the park more visible from the Chief Ladiga bike trail, giving riders and walkers between Anniston and Jacksonville a more pleasant view into the city.

The Ladiga Trail, a former rail line, has been around for more than 20 years. The Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail has not been open for a year. Hard to believe that three years ago, big plans for bike trails on the Forever Wild property had been stuck on the drawing board for 11 years

Curious about Coldwater? Click here for a video. 

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